Thursday, January 30, 2014

What's in a (Business) Name? Veintiseis

Anything goes with your cup of rice.
Spotted along F Ramos St., Cebu City

For more amusing business names, please visit Go Random.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Beauty T(r)ip

This, my friends, is how to get rosy butt cheeks and sparkling libat eyes (cross-eyed): Go on a roadtrip with a dozen or so transfers. In my case, a 600-something-kilometer roadtrip along the eastern provinces of Mindanao on different modes of public transportation. This is my butt-rosying (and butt-numbing) formula:

Day 1
Cebu to Surigao City (Surigao del Norte), taxi and plane
Surigao City to Cantilan (Surigao del Sur), 117 km, van
Cantilan to Tandag City, 52 km, van
Tandag City to Cagwait, 43 km, jeep

Day 2
Cagwait to San Agustin, 30 km, bus
San Agustin to Barobo, 37 km, bus
Barobo to Hinatuan, 34 km, van

Day 3
Hinatuan to Mangagoy, 37 km, van

Day 4
Mangagoy (Surigao del Sur) to Cateel (Davao Oriental), 75 km, bus
Cateel to Davao City (Davao del Sur),  191 km, bus

Day 5
Davao City to Samal Island (Davao del Norte), 15 km, jeep, ferry, and tricycle

Day 6
Samal Island to Davao City, 15 km, tricycle, ferry, and jeep
Davao City to Cebu, taxi and plane

and habalhabal, tricycle, pedicab, and pumpboat rides in between.

And, to get the sparkling cross-eyed look, this roadtrip by the numbers:
6 days
5 provinces
630+ kilometers
22 hours on the road
7 stops
11 transfers
4 vans
6 jeepneys
4 buses
8 motorcycles
3 tricycles
2 taxis
1 pumpboat
2 ferries
2 pedicabs
2 airplanes
2 "resorts"
2 inns
1 pension house
2 beaches
5 islands
1 river
2 waterfalls
1 cave
1 museum
12 bug bites
2 friends

Details on these beauty t(r)ips as soon as I get the cogs on my brain working. Putting a trip (this trip!) that happened five months ago on paper is hard work. I need to oil these rusty cogs real good.

Butt-Rosying Route:
A Beauty T(r)ip (you're here!)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Boy Tales of Childhood

Boy Tales of Childhood
Roald Dahl

Boy, oh, boy, imagine my glee when I found the book I have been looking for since reading Going Solo. I immensely enjoy Roald Dahl's works and this is no exception. Boy Tales of Childhood tells of Roald Dahl's amusing childhood (clearly says so on the title) in a language easily understood but not at all boring. Roald Dahl has the gift of telling even the simplest of stories in a funny way.

It says on the first page that this is not an autobiography but a sort of collection of moments that he could never forget. And it will be one book you, yourself, will not forget.

No, I will not spill the beans and tell you what those moments are, and no, don't google them. Just pick up the book and start reading.

For more book recommendations, please visit Go Read.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Island Grill's Batchoy

Batchoy Mega (Php 69) and Leche Flan (Php 29)
Back when I was a wee kid, my parents used to bring home batchoy from Carlo's (are they still any good?) after work and every member of the family would sit at the round table cleaning up their bowls and licking the last drops of broth. That's how my parents trained us to like batchoy. So, yeah, I like batchoy.

I eat batchoy wherever there's batchoy. Iloilo, the homeland of La Paz batchoy. In a posh looking restaurant in Bacolod. Ted's at APM Mall in Cebu. And now, thanks to my very reliable source for food news, I got word that Island Grill has batchoy. Might be old news to you. But it's news to me.

Island Grill offers grilled fare, thus the name, and other Filipino favorites (sorry, can't elaborate, I was like a horse with blinders, all I saw was batchoy). They have Batchoy Special and Batchoy Mega, with a 9–peso difference—for the size and nothing else (according to the server). You can request to add an egg for...I don't know how much.

The night I decided to eat at Island Grill in Ayala Center, every seat was taken. Food here must be good then.

My mother, who is from Iloilo, thinks Island Grill's batchoy is better than Ted's (in APM). I trust her opinion. She is from the homeland of batchoy after all. 

I bet you like batchoy, too. If you don't, then thank you for still reading this.

Island Grill
4th level, Ayala Center Cebu,
Cebu Business Park, Cebu City
(032) 505 6842

Other branches:
♦ Foodcourt of SM City Cebu
♦ Mango Square, Mango Avenue, Cebu City

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Namit ba ang ChickeNamit?

A friend who claims ChickeNamit, a restaurant in Mabolo, offers chicken inasal that's as good as the chicken inasal in Bacolod made me want to try it out myself. And try it out I did.

37 F Cabahug St., Mabolo, Cebu City
(032) 238 3180
Monday to Saturday 11AM to 11PM
Sunday 6PM to 11PM


Click to enlarge

Pecho meal (left) and cansi (right)

Te, ano, namit man gid ang ChickeNamit? (So, is ChickeNamit really delicious?) I guess I was expecting the chicken to taste like Aida's in Manokan Country in Bacolod and the cansi to taste like Sharyn's Cansi, also in Bacolod, that ChickeNamit kind of disappointed me. (One of my lessons from the road I, myself, did not heed.) Although the soup did not satisfy like how Sharyn's did, I did like the sourness of the soup, but did not like the beef parts they used. As for the chicken, my friend thinks Mang Inasal's is better. On the upside, I was happily surprised that their iced tea was raspberry, just like Bigby's, but for only Php 15.  

How "Bacolod's finest flavors" fined my pocket:
Pecho meal (comes with iced tea) Php 95
Cansi Php 240
Iced tea Php 15

Monday, January 13, 2014

Nalipay sa Lipay Mongolian BBQ

Three nationalities in one. This Korean-owned restaurant serving Mongolian BBQ (which is actually not a Mongolian cuisine, but was developed in Taiwan) has a Cebuano word as its name: Lipay (which means happy). Malipay kaha ko paghoman nako kaon diri? (Will I be happy after eating here?)

Lipay Mongolian BBQ is an all-you-can-eat make-your-own bowl (or bowls for the big eater) of Mongolian BBQ (meat, vegetables, and rice cooked on a griddle...nothing barbecue-y about this). You can choose what to heap on your bowl from a variety of vegetables, meats (pork, chicken, beef), and sauces. Your bowl doesn't have to overflow, you can make a new one later (it is all-you-can-eat after all). If you are not sure what's a good combination of sauces, you can ask the server to mix up some good stuff for you.

Mix your own sauce or ask help from the server

Cooking the customers' creations on the griddle.
Don't worry, the griddle expert won't mix up the orders. He's systematic.

Here's my unattractive heap

For the price of Php 350 per person, one can already have as many Mongolian BBQ bowls as one can consume, plus a serving of soup, barbecue (chicken, pork, okra), pork belly, gambas, pineapple slices, and a drink (softdrinks or beer). Tip: Go in a group, you'll get more barbecue and other stuff. I am not sure what they will serve or how much they will serve for just one diner.

We were a group of eight and this is what we got (with one bowl of soup each)

Nalipay ba ko pagkaon nako diri? I did not get my money's worth because after one bowl, I was already full! But my sister, my sister who does not eat much, had more bowls than her husband! It's either she hadn't had breakfast or lunch or this really is her kind of food.

Best to eat here if you know your sauce combo or think you can eat three or more bowls of Mongolian BBQ.

Lipay Mongolian BBQ
Bagumbayan II, Maribago, Lapu-lapu City, Mactan, Cebu
(032) 495 7732 / 0917 624 3960 / 0927 847 9947
Open daily
Lunch 10AM to 2PM
Dinner 430PM to 830PM

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Choi City: New on the Menu

A friend who was invited to try Choi City's new dishes was kind enough to invite me along. She probably needed another mouth to help clean the plates. Whether it was my company or my mouth's ability to clean plates, I am grateful that I was the chosen one.

Before I proceed, a little warning, I am not in the right condition to write about these new dishes because I was too full to truly appreciate this massive dinner (five dishes!)—this was my second dinner that night. (What a pig.) Plus I was never a good food reviewer; I just like to eat. I repeat, this was my second dinner. (Who in his right mind eats two dinners? A pig. Yes, that's me.)

I liked the fried rice but I honestly couldn't recall anything special about it. The olive oil, maybe? That's probably a plus for the health conscious. I think the lapu-lapu fillet with garlic was the best of the five that night. It was the first dish to empty! Tendon chewers, like my father, would probably love the beef tendon hotpot (all tendon and radish). I would rather eat the radish. And ox tripe would please my sister, who likes eating these little towel–like things. The chicken and herbs was okay. 

In the end, a loud burp was in order. Thanks for the second dinner, Choi City! My only regret is that I did not eat this in a hungry state.

To you, dear reader, apologies are in order:
♦ I can't tell you the price of each dish because I don't know. Sorry.
♦ I'm gonna guess the price for each dish is between Php 150 to Php 400. Pretty wide range. Sorry.
♦ I just wasted your time with this very vague "review." Sorry.

Banilad Town Center, Banilad, Cebu City
(032) 239 0999 / 239 0800
Daily 11AM to 230PM and 530PM to 930PM

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Quick Snack at Homebakers

Cielito (left) and mercedita (right)
I walked into Homebakers planning to spend 50 pesos for some snacks. I got a cielito and a mini brazo de mercedes which they call a mercedita. When the cashier rang up my bill, I was taken aback that it totaled to Php 87. Ah, this is what I get for not following my own advice.

Might as well enjoy my pricey snacks.

The cielito tastes like a coconut macaroon with leche flan on top. A pretty good combination, but a bit too sweet.

Homebakers has really good brazo de mercedes but I can't say it was worth its price. Php 50 for just a mini roll? I think I'll go buy the half roll from Casilda's.

181-1 Juana Osmena St., Cebu City
(032) 253 6217 / 253 4265
Monday to Saturday 8AM to 10PM

Other branch:
Gov. M Cuenco Ave., Talamban, Cebu City
(032) 418 1102
Daily 9AM to 9PM

Is this pricey for you?
Cielito Php 37
Mercedita Php 50

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Borussia, a German Restaurant in Sogod

If it is not just my imagination, I think I have seen Borussia, a German restaurant, in Cebu City a long, long time ago (do not try and guess my age). I don't know when Borussia transferred to Sogod, but I did not travel 57 kilometers from Cebu City to find out. Instead, it was to finally satisfy my curiosity after passing by the large "Borussia German Restaurant, Deli & Bread" sign along the highway in northern Cebu several times. And, as it happens, to satisfy my (and the rest of the group's) hunger as we have been on the road for almost six hours (six hours for just 57 kilometers? We made many stops, two of which were Mt Uragay Spring in Carmen and Torta og Uban Pa in Catmon).

Sogod, Cebu
(032) 516 2463 / 0917 329 3753

The restaurant is a cozy country house surrounded by a large garden

None of us were familiar with German cuisine and we had to ask the server to describe the different dishes on Borussia's menu. She patiently answered (in English) our questions (in Cebuano) and even showed us the different breads Borussia sells. (Breads can be ordered from Borussia with no minimum order required. They deliver to Cebu City twice a week) Thank you for your patience, Miss, we'll have the following:

Mediterranean sausage with sauerkraut and mashed potato

Left to right: Knusper (bread), squash soup, and tomato soup (Photos by L. Chavez)

Left to right: Hungarian sausage, Currywurst, and Frikadelle (Photos by L. Chavez)

I had a piece of knusper (bread with various grains and seeds) and the Mediterranean sausage with sauerkraut and mashed potato. Why the Mediterranean sausage? Because 1) it is under the heading "Very German Menu" and 2) it is the German owner's favorite (says the server).

We had a bit of each other's food and I liked my dish best—the Mediterranean sausage was the tastiest among the three (sausages) and I loved the sauerkraut (pickled cabbage). I found the sauce of the currywurst weird (research told me that it's curry plus ketchup), though half of the group liked the currywurst best. The frikadelle, which is like a flattened meatball, wasn't anything special.

I would go back to Borussia only when the craving for Mediterranean sausage and saurkraut is a matter of life and death. But then, if I do go back, it would also mean sure death for my wallet. That dish is expensive (Php 240)!

How Borussia left a buslot (hole) in our pockets:
Mediterranean sausage with sauerkraut and mashed potato Php 240
Knusper Php 30 per piece
Squash soup Php 70
Tomato soup Php 70
Hungarian sausage Php 170
Currywurst Php 210
Frikadelle Php 210

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Nice Meeting You, Chewy Junior

Do not judge Junior by his looks for looks can be very deceiving.
 Chewy Junior looks plain. Chewy Junior looks boring.
Even his house (the shop) looks meh.

Tiramisu deluxe (left) and chocolate Oreo crunch (right).
Plainness emphasized by my crappy photo.

Honeydew sprinkle

But, my, my, my, once in the maw, Chewy Junior creates a jolly good time!
Creamy! (The filling is made of soya.)
Not too sweet! (The chocolate is made of 52% cacao.)
And just right. (The cream puff's diameter is about 3.5 inches.)

These were all waiting to be picked up. I had to wait for my cream puffs to be made.

Very happy with the cream puffs, I bought two more to take home and was so excited to let whoever was at home try it. Once home, I headed straight to the refrigerator to let my cream puffs chill (it is best served chilled), and what do I find? A box of Chewy Junior cream puffs! Somebody beat me to the punch!

Chewy Junior cream puffs from Php 20 to Php 60.
There are four different fillings: chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch, and peanut butter.
(Click menu to enlarge.)

Only after I googled Chewy Junior and found Babe for Food's post from 2011 did I realize that I have often passed by Chewy Junior near the cinemas in SM City Cebu (that branch is now a goner). Why did it take me so long to have the courage to get to know you, Chewy Junior? We could have been best buddies.

Chewy Junior
Upper Ground Floor J Centre Mall, AS Fortuna St, Mandaue City, Cebu
(032) 328 0758

How Chewy Junior made me regret being judgmental:
Tiramisu deluxe Php 30
Chocolate Oreo crunch Php 40
Honeydew sprinkle Php 30

Friday, January 3, 2014

Who's Your Daddy? Big Daddy!

When a big yellow bus comes barreling down the road, do you:
A. get out of its way
B. run after it
C. meet it head on

I, first, would get out of its way. Second, run after it. Then, third, meet it head on, or maybe meet it on the passenger side door to place my order. That's only if the big yellow bus is Big Daddy, the food truck offering burgers, hotdogs, pasta, and milkshakes.

This very American concept is Creative Cuisine's newest member of the family. He joins his Chinese brother (Big Mao), Filipino sister (Chikaan), and mother baker of unknown descent, Kaffee Alde, in serving Cebu culinary delights.

Busy flipping burgers and grilling hotdogs

As much as I would like to try everything on the menu (this is Creative Cuisine, after all, and I expect everything to be tasty), my stomach can only accept half a burger, half of the pasta, a piece of leche fritos, and bits and pieces of my neighbor's food. 

From left to right: leche fritos, gambas pasta, and Tokyo Sun burger.
Not in photo: peanut butter milkshake and Big Daddy fries

The gambas pasta (Php 210) was perfect. The Tokyo Sun burger (Php 160) was generously sprinkled with nori (I love nori). The peanut butter milkshake (Php 130) was indeed peanut butter...just through a straw...but I think only peanut butter lovers would appreciate this. Leche fritos (fried milk!) seemed a bit weird to me. Like the peanut butter milkshake, leche fritos isn't for everyone. Big Daddy fries (Php 70) were crisp shoestring fries (I expected it to be fat floppy fries...blame it on that adjective attached to its name).

I managed to try all of these by coming up with a not so brilliant idea: to share with a friend...and a stranger (aka the "neighbor" previously mentioned). I stood beside a stranger and offered him my food. While he tried the pasta and the leche fritos (but avoided my saliva-laced burger), I sneakily got some of his Big Daddy fries. When he left the table, I bravely continued reaching for the fries. But he came back and caught me red handed with greasy fingers and a mouthful of fries. I grinned (with, I imagine, shoestring fries sticking through my teeth) and sheepishly said, "I ate your fries. Now, who's your daddy?"

To know Big Daddy's whereabouts, follow him on:
Twitter: @bigdaddy_truck

For corporate functions and private events with the truck, call Creative Cuisine Gourmet Group at (032) 511-5410.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wisdom from the Road #11

On flexibility
Be flexible.

I don't mean do yoga, although that would probably help you climb through bus windows easily if you want to behave like a monkey and fight your way to a seat during the peak holiday seasons. 

I mean be flexible in your plans. You don't have to gripe and bawl and pull out all your hair if your plan goes into pieces.

But maybe I do mean do yoga. It is good for you. It improves flexibility and takes away the stress. Ommm...

For more lessons from the road, please visit Go Learn.